Games for a 1-Year-Old Birthday Party

Updated February 21, 2017

When planning a first birthday, remember that the party isn't really for the birthday boy. While it may be an enjoyable day for the new one-year-old, the concept of a party will make little sense. You can still adopt an adorably age-appropriate theme. However, the kinds of games you plan will depend entirely on the guests in attendance. If you invite many babies and toddlers, plan non-competitive activities that they can do with their parents; for older children, organise more active and competitive games.


For a first birthday party with lots of toddlers and little ones, plan a singalong or other circle time activity. Hire a children's musician or enlist the help of a musical friend so that you can remain available to attend to the birthday girl. Prepare familiar songs that let the babies move or dance, according to their age and ability. "Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" is great for slightly older guests. The youngest of the guests will enjoy listening and watching any props, like puppets or shiny cymbals. Allot about half an hour for the singalong, with up-tempo songs at the start and soothing lullabies toward the end.

Themed Games

If you select a theme for your toddler, be sure to incorporate any games or activities. For a teddy bear theme party, guests of all ages will enjoy a teddy bear picnic. Provide plenty of plastic toy teacups and encourage all the guests to bring their own teddy bears for the occasion. For guests ages 4 and up, a simple game of "Duck, Duck, Goose" can be adapted as "Bear, Bear, Puppy." If you prepare a cupcake-themed bash, adapt the traditional "Pin the Tail on the Donkey" to "Pin the Cherry on the Cupcake." If you have any older guests, let them decorate cupcakes as another themed activity.

Games Parents Will Enjoy

Chances are, your first birthday party will have a good many adult guests. To keep them entertained, offer a number of "Mommy and Me" style activities, as well as simple games the adults can play while monitoring their children's play. Instead of directly giving out party favours, play a game of "Pass the Parcel," in which a trinket or gift is wrapped in many layers of decorative wrapping paper. Guests pass the parcel around, each time removing one layer. Whoever removes the final layer gets to keep the gift. A mommy and baby dance-off makes another fun activity. Whenever the music stops, the dancers have to freeze on the spot.

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About the Author

Danielle Hill has been writing, editing and translating since 2005. She has contributed to "Globe Pequot" Barcelona travel guide, "Gulfshore Business Magazine," "Connecting Lines: New Poetry from Mexico" and "The Barcelona Review." She has trained in neuro-linguistic programming and holds a Bachelor of Arts in comparative literature and literary translation from Brown University.